The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) held Saturday, July 10, an inter-faith memorial service for the victims of the C-130 military plane crash in Patikul, Sulu.
Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, AFP Chief of Staff, paid tribute to the military personnel who were killed in the tragedy, which is considered as one of the worst air disasters in the history of the military. A total of 52 persons were killed in the plane crash including 49 military personnel while 51 others were wounded.
The inter-faith memorial service, held at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City, was intended for the Catholic and Muslim soldiers who perished in the July 4 incident. It was attended by personnel of the Philippine Army, Philippine Air Force, Philippine Navy, and AFP General Headquarters (GHQ).
The attendees also prayed for the speedy recovery of the wounded personnel who are now recuperating in different hospitals in Zamboanga City and Sulu.
A wreath-laying ceremony followed the memorial service. A 21-gun salute was also rendered in honor of the fallen soldiers. The ceremony concluded with a flag retreat.
“As we lower the Philippine flag at half-mast, we solemnly remember each precious lives that have been claimed in the recent tragedy that has befallen the armed forces. We bear upon in our shoulders the sacred duty of remembering them,” Sobejana said in his message.
Twenty of the 49 military personnel who died were already identified by the military. Meanwhile, cross-matching and DNA testing were ongoing to verify the identities of the 29 other fatalities.
“These men and women have offered their lives for a noble call of duty. For that, there is no amount of compensation that can ever repay the services that they have made for the country. More than just soldiers, our comrades were once dutiful sons and daughters, parents to their children, and caring brothers and daughters to their siblings,” Sobejana said.
“We humbly seek the Lord Almighty to grant their families the strength to endure the agony of their loss,” he added.
The military chief also urged the entire AFP personnel to honor the fallen soldiers by serving the country and the Filipino people whole-heartedly.
“Our comrades-in-arms should never die in vain,” he said.